March 8th, 2002
First sim to involve multi-tasking
Dam Busters consisted of just one mission. It simulated the daring raids against dams in the Ruhr Valley which were heavily protected by flak emplacements and fighter patrols guided by German radar. The bombs were dropped with a back-spin (like a cricket ball), skipped along the surface of the water and then dove to the base of the dam before exploding. The Dam Busters sim was the first one to involve multi-tasking. You could be pilot, engineer, gunner or bomb aimer - in fact you had to do all at some point in the mission. Not a bad effort for 1984! - Dam Busters
I've taken the feather duster to the Museum exhibits on the classic sims from
Digital Image Design.
This UK based development team have created a string of innovative Flight Sims which manage to place the gamer in the most sophisticated air combat environments while maintaining a high level of accessibility. They consistently pushed the limits of 3-D modelling and portrayed the most up-to-date combat avionics systems, reaching an apogee with the 1998 sim Total Air War, which reproduced a modern air war as seen from an AWACS and from the cockpit of the next generation fighter, the F-22
In order of release:
F-29 Retaliator was released in 1991 and ran very fast, even on a 386 25Mhz which was a typical machine of the day. I remember trying again and again to strafe a train whilst travelling at about mach 1.2.... it never occured to me to slow down! The graphics were detailed by the standards of the day, with cities, bridges, roads, islands, mountains and moving vehicles. The cockpit was pretty exciting for the time, with 3 MFD's you could set up in a number of configurations.
Developer: Digital Image Design
Publisher: Ocean Software Ltd.
Comments: TFX is an acronym for "Tactical Fighter Experimental". When you look at the graphics available in the other early combat flight sims it is easy to see why TFX caused so much excitement on it's release. The flight model could be adjusted from "arcade" to "military" and play modes ranged from arcade levels to the "UN Commander" mode. As UN Commander you planned missions, selected the aircraft and flew the Eurofighter, F22 or F117 Stealth Fighter.
F-22 ADF. Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson remembers : "In December of '97 DiD released F22: ADF. Virtually every area of game play was expanded or improved beyond EF2000. The graphics component improved terrain, objects, effects and damage textures and even added multiple cloud layers. Lighting effects weren't up to Longbow 2, but missiles glowed and explosions were spectacular."
Total Air War sported a spiral bound manual which included more than one hundred pages of detailed information on both allies and adversaries weapons platforms and systems! Clearly, Ocean was getting the message that Digital Image Design's followers were SERIOUS simulation gamers. This Museum entry inlcudes over 30 pages of hints, tutorials, checklists and tips including:
- AIR COMBAT
- Tutorial - Dogfighting
- The Merge
- Turn and Burn
- Thrust Vectoring in Combat
- Beyond Visual Range
- AWACS TUTORIAL
- Training Mission Walkthrough
- Definition of AWACS
- CAMPAIGN TIPS
- Dynamic Campaigns
- Using the controls
- Time and speed
- After Action Report - Operation Urgent Shield
- Editing your pilot's logfile
Eurofighter Typhoon- Accessibility, immersion and F U N ! Accessibility is enhanced by the simple, mouse driven interface and easy avionics. Immersion is provided by the dynamic campaign, the intelligence reports that come in via TV broadcast and internet, and the fact that you have to mamage a squadron of 6 pilots through the whole campaign. This Museum exhibit includes tips on
- the ASRAAM (short range air to air missile)
- AOA - Angle of Attack
- The break turn
- Damage modelling
- Pictorial tour of a typical day in the campaign